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Relating to the medical use of low-THC cannabis and the regulation of related organizations and individuals; requiring a dispensing organization to obtain a license to dispense low-THC cannabis and any employee of a dispensing organization to obtain a registration; authorizing fees.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The bill would stipulate a municipality, county, or other political subdivision may not enact, adopt, or enforce a rule, ordinance, order, resolution, or other regulation that prohibits the cultivation, production, dispensing, of possession of low-THC cannabis, as specified in the bill. Since the Department of State Health Services has noted that the bill would be aimed at a narrow group of individuals, it is assumed the bill would not have fiscal significance to units of local government.
This bill is substantively the same as when we reported on it in its original chamber. We continue to remain neutral on SB 339. The second chamber sponsor is Representative Klick.
Original chamber analysis
The bill would add chapters to the Occupations Code and Health and Safety Code. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) would administer the new Chapter 487, also known as the Texas Compassionate-Use Act. DPS would be required to issue or renew a license to operate as a dispensing organization to each applicant who satisfies specific requirements. DPS would be required to establish and maintain a secure online compassionate-use registry that contains the name of each physician who registers as the prescriber for a patient, the dosage prescribed, and other information. Dispensing organizations would be required to maintain the eligibility requirements in Sec. 487.102.
Applicants for a license to dispense low-THC cannabis (medical marijuana) would be required to maintain the financial, technical, technological, and operational ability to cultivate and produce low-THC cannabis as a dispensing organization. Each director, manager, or employee would be required to register under Subchapter D. An applicant for the issuance or renewal of a license to operate as a dispensing organization would be required to provide DPS with the name of each of the applicant’s directors, managers, and employees for the purposes of a criminal history background check. Before dispensing a low-THC cannabis prescription, the dispensing organization would be required to verify the prescription matches the entry for a patient in the compassionate-use registry.
The bill sets forth registration requirements stating applicants must be at least 18 years old; submit a complete set of fingerprints to DPS, and pass a fingerprint-based criminal history background check. A registration would be valid for 2 years, unless it is suspended or revoked. The bill would forbid a municipality, county, or other political subdivision from prohibiting the cultivation, production, dispensing, or possession of low-THC cannabis. The bill would exempt patients and dispensing organizations from criminal offenses if they engage in the acquisition, possession, production, cultivation, delivery, or disposal of a raw material used in or by-product created by the production or cultivation of low-THC cannabis.
The bill would restrict the use of low-THC cannabis (medical marijuana) prescribed by dispensing organizations to intractable epileptic patients. The bill would require physicians to meet certain qualifications to prescribe low-THC cannabis.
Authorizing the prescription of low-THC cannabis (medical marijuana) is, in our view, primarily a social issue. Since we do not make vote recommendations on social issues, we remain neutral on SB 339.